The Australian rode to yellow in SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first serious Alpine stage, finishing 10 seconds behind stage winner Andy Schleck.
Holder and pre-race favourite Alberto Contador finished alongside Evans but appeared unable to keep up with Schleck, who lies just 20 seconds back in second place.
The Luxembourgish climbing specialist, who finished second in last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race, now appears the man to beat heading into the second weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s action.
Schleck had shown excellent form earlier in the week, gaining useful seconds on Contador over the cobbles of stage three, before solidifying it in the mountains.
Some speculated the loss of his older brother Frank, who broke his collar bone on a chaotic stage three, would affect SchleckÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s confidence.
But with Contador lying 41 seconds back, the onus is now on the Spaniard to find a riposte to the impressive 25-year-old.
Elsewhere, Bradley WigginsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ hopes of bettering his fourth place finish in last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tour took a battering as he failed to keep up with the leaders in the final four kilometres, finishing one minute 45 back.
Lance Armstrong meanwhile has accepted his final Tour de France will not bring him an 8th title.
The American Radioshack team leader fell twice during a disastrous day and is now over 13 minutes behind Evans
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